Foreign Policy Blogs

International Crisis Group Condemns Afghan Parliamentary Election Crisis

Afghanistan’s democratic gamble seems to have paid off handsomely for Hamid Karzai and all those who play private politics with him.  For he must think politics in Afghanistan is a game; why else would he and his friends take the money and run?

In the past year President Karzai has threatened to leave the safety blanket of NATO, to sidle up with the Taliban.  He has held up the inauguration of a somewhat well-contested parliament.  Now recent news shows that his administration is riddled with public and private corruption at a grand scale-so much so that there may be little hope of salvaging a functioning polity and politics in Afghanistan before 2o14 and beyond that entirely artificial, though likely rigid, deadline.

So given all this trouble, it is an incontestable fact that the government in Kabul is up to some terrible mendacity.  This is because the stunningly forthright and cuttingly intelligent folks at the International Crisis Group have put out a new paper to outline how and why the fiasco around the recent parliamentary elections in Afghanistan is just the starting volley of some indescribably bad turn of events

Here’s a sustained introduction to the ICG’s rather astute and, on the whole, correct, analysis:

“The prolonged crisis over Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections has further undermined President Hamid Karzai’s credibility. He is now even more isolated politically than he was after his dubious re-election in 2009. The Wolesi Jirga was inaugurated on 26 January 2011, following a lengthy standoff that exposed sharp political fault lines, which could plunge the country deeper into not just political but armed conflict. Clashes between the executive, legislature and judiciary over the results of the polls are paralysing government and weakening already fragile institutions. Constitutional review is long overdue, and failure to implement changes that reinforce the separation of powers will only further weaken the state’s ability to provide security or good governance. If public confidence is to be restored, the president and Supreme Court must disband a special tribunal that was created to adjudicate elections complaints but lacks a clear legal mandate. The new parliament must also immediately place electoral and constitutional reform at the top of its agenda. If left unaddressed, the current political crisis will stoke ethnic tensions and could drive disenfranchised Afghans into the arms of the Taliban.”

Read the whole executive summary here.  And think about what the U.S and NATO are to do in Afghanistan over the next three years and beyond.



Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link:

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